Figaro Solo Race 2014: Young Briton Sam Matson comes twelfth in first leg
His mother looked on proudly, his father was on his way back from the round Britain and Ireland yacht race to join the celebrations, but the smile on 23-year old Sam Matson’s face lit up the whole of an already sunny Plymouth Sound at the end of the first leg of the Figaro Solo Race.
It was his first appearance, so making him, in 12th place, the top ‘rookie’, and he was the top British competitor out of eight taking part, another six of them also rookies.
“Coming into Plymouth has been an unbelievable feeling,” he said between successive fountains of celebratory champagne for the crowding photographers. “I still can’t believe the result.” Also there to cheer him home were fellow-students from Plymouth University, where Matson took a degree in navigation and maritime science. He graduated with first class honours.
“There was nothing I didn’t expect,” he said. “I knew it would be tough and it was tough.” Not as tough as for one of the favourites ahead of the start from Deauville on Sunday, Yann Elies. He was in the lead at Wolf Rock when he was dismasted and is not working flat out to make the start of the next leg to Roscoff on Saturday.
This is one of the top tests for solo sailors in France and three Frenchmen filled the top three places. Alexis Loisin, who won the doublehanded division of the Fastnet Race last year with father Pascal, was first to finish the 484-mile course in 3d 2hr 53min 50 sec, 7min 27sec ahead of Fabien Delahaye and 9min 42sec ahead of third-placed Jeremie Beyou, who has twice won the event before.
Matson was 58min 49sec behind Loisin and already thinking about gearing up for the second of the four legs. “Right now a shower would be nice,” he said, “but I have had no major gear problems and have yet to discover any injuries, but undoubtedly there will be a few bruises. As for the next leg, bring it on.”
Latest in Sport
Manchester United's best XI of the season so far: No place for Angel Di Maria or Juan Mata
WrestleMania 31 results: Seth Rollins stuns WWE as he cashes in Money in the Bank contract to claim title from Brock Lesnar
WrestleMania 31: Undertaker begins a new streak after tombstoning Bray Wyatt
WrestleMania 31: What time does it start? Full match card and preview ahead of WWE event
Sting vs Triple H: NWO, DX and Shawn Michaels return at Wrestlemania 31 as The Game triumphs in flashback to Monday Night Wars
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Germanwings plane crash: Video shows co-pilot Andreas Lubitz learning to fly as a teenager
- 3 Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew